You know that fast food restaurant named after an old-timey children’s toy that scares the shit out of you? Well, before I went vegan, one of my junk food go-to’s was that place’s bacon, cheddar, potato wedges. A while back, I randomly remembered this gut bomb of a dish and realized that I could very easily make a vegan version. Not only that, but I knew that I could improve upon the concept by upping the flavors, and I could also transform it from a side to a meal. Let me tell you, after eating my version, I was all like, “Jack who??”
My version’s base is also taters however I opted for crinkle cut french fries because I felt like their crispy goodness was needed here. On top of the french fries I put “chicken” that is seasoned up with some ranch-esque flavors. (The “chicken” is what I added to make this deliciousness an actual meal!) Then “bacon,” a “cheese” sauce, ranch dressing, and fresh chives get tossed on to finish off this pile o’ palate pleasure. Y’all seriously need to try these. There are so many textures, and flavors, and there’s hot and cold elements… you’ll quickly realize just why they’re called “crack” french fries! And, despite all of the components, they really are easy to make.
It all gets started with the a shortcut -frozen french fries! Following the instructions on the french fry packaging, cook up enough french fries for 2 people (as this recipe serves 2 people). I do about 2-3 handfuls per person but, when in doubt, cook up more than you think you’ll need because it’s better to be safe than sorry. That and french fries ain’t ever gonna get wasted, am I right?
While the french fries are in the oven, we need to get our other components ready. First things first, the “bacon.” For this, I prefer Sweet Earth’s Benevolent Bacon because it has a strong flavor profile.
In a frying pan over medium heat, you’re going to pour in a generous tablespoon of oil and cook up 5 strips of the “bacon” for 2-3 minutes per side. (Mine was frozen hence why it looks more like pieces than strips but this isn’t a big deal because it all ends up in pieces in a minute anyway.) When the “bacon” is done, carefully transfer it to a paper towel, leaving behind in the pan as much of the oil as possible because that’s what we’re going to cook our “chicken” in. Once the “bacon” has cooled for minute, go ahead and chop it up into bits then set it aside. Be sure to cover it with foil to help keep it warm until we’re ready for it again.
Next, it’s time to cook up the “chicken.” I used Gardein’s Chick’n Strips -I can only ever find the ones with the teriyaki sauce packet included so I just hoard the sauce for use another time. In the pan that you cooked the “bacon” in, 10 “chicken” strips are going to get cooked up with their seasonings (see recipe below to find out what those exactly are) for about 3-4 minutes per side over medium heat. When done, transfer to a cutting board and chop the strips into more bite size pieces then cover with foil and set aside just as you did with the “bacon.”
Okay, time for the “cheese” sauce! In a small saucepan over medium heat, 1 tablespoon of vegan “butter” gets melted down. Once melted, a tablespoon of flour gets added and this mixture gets cooked until lightly golden and slightly foamy. At that point, some unsweetened almond milk gets poured in and the heat gets turned up just a bit. Whisk really well to get the flour mixture incorporated nicely then let everything come to a boil, stirring or whisking occasionally until thickened slightly. When thickened slightly, add in some of your favorite vegan “cheddar” shreds and stir or whisk until the “cheese” has completely melted in. Turn off the heat, add in a little nooch (nutritional yeast), stir once more, then cover and let the sauce rest until the french fries are done.
When the french fries are done, sprinkle over them a nice pinch of salt then it’s assembly time! Lay down on a plate half of the french fries then layer on top of those half of your “chicken” pieces. Next, half of the “bacon” goes on and then a generous amount of the “cheese” sauce gets poured all over. Grab your favorite bottle of vegan ranch (or if you’ve made mine you can use that) and drizzle some of it all over. Lastly, chop up some fresh chives and add those right on top.
Two things… serve the french fries immediately or else they will start to get soggy and, although french fries generally are a finger food, this particular iteration is not so fork up, y’all. Enjoy!
Vegan 'Crack' French Fries
Credit: Compassion is the Secret Ingredient, http://www.citsiblog.com
- Frozen crinkle cut french fries
- 1 generous tablespoon of oil (canola or vegetable work best for this recipe)
- 5 pieces of Sweet Earth’s Benevolent Bacon
- 10 pieces of Gardein’s Chick’n Strips (if yours came with a teriyaki sauce packet just set the sauce packet aside for use another time)
- 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
- 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/8 teaspoon paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
- a pinch of salt (for the “chicken”) + another pinch of salt (for the french fries when they’re done)
- a pinch of pepper
- 1 tablespoon vegan “butter”
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 2/3 cup vegan “cheddar” shreds
- 1 generous tablespoon nooch (nutritional yeast)
- Your favorite vegan ranch (maybe it’s mine)
- Fresh chives
- Set your oven to the temperature stated on the french fry packaging. On a sheet pan, lay out enough french fries to serve 2. (I do about 2-3 handfuls per person but, when in doubt, do more than you think you’ll need because it’s better to be safe than sorry.) Cook the french fries for the time stated in the instructions on their packaging. While they’re in the oven, continue on to the next steps.
- In a frying pan over medium heat, pour in the oil and add the “bacon.” Cook it for 2-3 minutes per side. When done, carefully transfer it to a paper towel, leaving behind in the pan as much of the oil as possible because that’s what we’re going to cook our “chicken” in. Once the “bacon” has cooled for a minute, go ahead and chop it up into bits then set it aside. Be sure to cover it with foil to help keep it warm until we’re ready for it again.
- In the same pan that you cooked the “bacon” in, combine the “chicken” strips with the dried dill, dried parsley, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of pepper. Cook the seasoned strips for about 3-4 minutes per side over medium heat. When done, transfer to a cutting board and chop the strips into more bite size pieces then cover with foil and set aside just as you did with the “bacon.”
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt down the “butter.” Once melted, toss in the flour, give this mixture a good stir, then cook until lightly golden and slightly foamy. Add in the almond milk and turn the heat up to medium-high. As everything comes to a boil, whisk well to ensure that the flour mixture is incorporated nicely. Once boiling, boil until slightly thickened, about 2-3 minutes, then add in the “cheddar” shreds and stir or whisk until the “cheese” has completely melted in. Turn off the heat and stir in the nooch. Cover the saucepan to keep the “cheese” sauce hot until the french fries are done.
- When the french fries are done, sprinkle over them a pinch of salt then it’s time to bring it all together. Lay down on a plate half of the french fries then layer on top of those half of the seasoned “chicken.” Next, half of the “bacon” goes on followed by a generous amount of the “cheese” sauce. Drizzle on some ranch dressing to your liking and, last but not least, chop up some fresh chives and garnish with those. Serve immediately.